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Draft Annual Plan Agreed

24 February 2004

2005-2006 Draft Annual Plan Agreed - Budgets in Line with LTCCP

Rodney District Council has completed the first stage of deliberations on its Draft Annual Plan (budget) for 2005-2006.

The average rate impact is currently proposed to be 6.9 per cent, which for an average property equates to around an extra $124, taking the average rate from $1,856 to $1,980 (GST inclusive).

This 6.9 per cent impact is in line with the 2004-2014 Long Term Council Community Plan which forecast a 3.9 per cent average increase. This is on top of inflation, which projections estimate at 3 per cent.

Wastewater costs are responsible for a substantial portion of this increase, with rising maintenance and power charges among the other reasons. Water charges however will generally remain the same or even drop for different parts of the district.

The rating impact for the Hibiscus Coast rating division is 6.5 per cent, while that of the Rural and Townships division is 7.2 per cent.

The Council will collect $71.3 million in rates for 2005/2006 and its budget is designed to meet the costs of rapid growth and the provision of community infrastructure and facilities.

Major construction expenditure will be in the traditional areas of:

Roading: $41.1m Wastewater: $12.2m Stormwater: $12.0m Community Facilities: $8.1m Initial work for this year’s budget indicated that a 9.9 per cent rise would be necessary but this has been reduced by stringent budget reviews with the deferral of some projects that need not be started in 2005/06.

The Mayor John Law said Council had managed to trim expenditure back and still maintain delivery on core functions and maintain ratepayer assets. It had also to take account of inflation, which he said is forecast to be around three per cent.

“But we are very pleased to report that we are either starting or completing some major facilities for which our communities have been waiting years.” “It’s a simple fact of life that we can’t do everything that we would like to, or that the community wants,” he says. “But overall we’ve managed to keep costs to an absolute minimum and produce a sensible, affordable, programme of work.” Mr Law said it was also painfully obvious that rates can’t be relied upon forever to deliver community services.

“We will continue to pressure central government for reform of the outdated and inequitable property tax that funds Council-provided services” “Pressure on the big cities and growth districts like Rodney is unrelenting. At three per cent population growth per annum, Rodney leads the growth league. On top of that, central government continues to devolve extra responsibility without funds. Examples are the costs of the Building and Dog Acts which have fallen onto local authorities like Rodney District Council. “

“Consideration must be given to new funding sources - including rating Crown-owned land and increases in grants for ‘national public good services and facilities’ provided at the local level.”

“Despite an extensive capital programme of $98.3m, which is up 11 per cent on forecasts in the LTCCP, there are actually less loans to be raised, due to the very successful advocacy by Councillors and officers to access subsidies for major transportation projects,” Mr Law said The Mayor also said that although no public presentations were to be held, the actual submission, hearing and deliberation process will be as robust as ever.

“All submitters are being given the chance to be heard and all submissions will be read by Council,” the Mayor said.

ENDS

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